והנה כל זה הוא רק על דרך משל לבד

Now all this — the above-mentioned effect of the emotive traits upon the resultant teaching or influence — is only by way of allegory, and does not provide a completely true picture of the Sefirot as they exist within man’s soul,

כי כל זה הוא בנפש השכלית, התחתונה שבאדם, הבאה מקליפת נוגה

for all this applies to the rational soul, which is the lower one in man, and derives from kelipat nogah.

This “lower soul” naturally inclines to “lower” (i.e., corporeal) matters, so that even its intellect goes only as far as understanding the composition and so on, of mundane things. For although the kelipah which is the source of this soul is kelipat nogah, a kelipah whose darkness is relieved by a ray of good, nevertheless it is wholly bound up with mundanity.

אך באמת לאמיתו, בנפש העליונה האלקית, שהיא חלק אלוה ממעל

But in true fact, with regard to [the Sefirot in] the higher, divine soul, which is a “part of G‑d above,”1

כל המדות פנימיות וחיצוניות הן לה׳ לבדו

all the internal and external attributes are [directed] to G‑d alone: the divine soul is concerned with spiritual things alone, so that both its (internal) love and (external) Chesed are concentrated purely on G‑dliness.

כי מחמת אהבת ה׳, ומרוב חפצו לדבקה בו

For because of one’s love of G‑d and because of one’s great desire to cleave unto Him,

הוא חפץ חסד, כדי לידבק במדותיו

he desires with all his being [to practice] Chesed, in order to cleave to His attributes.

כמאמר רז״ל על פסוק, ולדבקה בו: הדבק במדותיו

This accords with the teaching of our Sages, of blessed memory, on the verse,2 “And to cleave unto Him”: “Cleave unto His attributes.”3

Just as G‑d is compassionate so should mortal man be compassionate; just as G‑d has an innate desire to practice kindness, so should a person’s inner desire to practice kindness be motivated by a desire to cleave to G‑d.

As to the attribute of Chesed, then, both its internal aspect (love) and its external aspect (kindness) are directed purely to G‑dly things.

וכן במדת הגבורה

It is likewise with the attribute of Gevurah, whose internal aspect is fear; it, too, is experienced only for G‑dly causes:

להפרע מן הרשעים, ולענשם בעונשי התורה

for example, to punish and chastise the wicked with the punishments of the Torah;

וכן להתגבר על יצרו, ולקדש את עצמו במותר לו

and also, to prevail over one’s [evil] inclination and to4 “Sanctify himself in that which is permitted to him,”

ולעשות גדר וסייג לתורה

and to5 put up a fence and a hedge around the Torah,

מפני פחד ה׳ ויראתו, פן יבוא לידי חטא, חס ושלום

because of the dread and fear of G‑d, lest he might come to sin, heaven forfend.

In order to ensure that he will not come to sin, a person may thus choose to sanctify himself and refrain from6 “one hundred portals of the permissible, so as not to transgress in one portal of the prohibited.”

To summarize the above conclusions regarding the first two of the seven middot, or spiritual emotions: Not only is a man’s attribute of Chesed directed to G‑dly matters, but so too is his attribute of Gevurah — both in its internal aspect, viz., the fear of G‑d, and in its external manifestations in his rigorous observance of the Torah and its mitzvot.

וכן לפאר את ה׳ ותורתו בכל מיני פאר

Likewise, by exercising the attribute of Tiferet (lit., “beauty”), [a man seeks] to glorify G‑d and His Torah in all ways possible, such as by possessing a beautiful sefer Torah, beautiful tefillin and the like,

ולדבקה בשבחיו בכל בחינות נפשו

and to cleave to His praises [by praising G‑d] with all the faculties of his soul:

דהיינו, בהתבוננות שכלו ומחשבתו

that is, by intellectual and thoughtful meditation on the greatness of G‑d, which blossoms into the singing of His praises;

גם בדיבורו

and likewise when he speaks, his praises are not empty words, but grow out of his preparatory meditation.

“[Praising G‑d] with all the faculties of his soul” thus means that the worshiper utilizes his intellect and emotions as well as all three “garments” of his soul (i.e., the soul’s media of self-expression), viz., thought, speech and action (for speech constitutes7 “mini-action”). Alternatively, “[praising G‑d] with all the faculties of his soul” may mean: all those aspects of the soul that relate to praise, i.e., intellect, thought and speech.

וכן לעמוד בנצחון נגד כל מונע מעבודת ה׳ ומלדבקה בו

Likewise, by exercising the attribute of Netzach, [a man seeks] to prevail triumphantly against anything that would restrain [him] from the service of G‑d and from cleaving unto Him,

ונגד כל מונע מלהיות כבוד ה׳ מלא את כל הארץ

and against anything that would restrain [the state of revelation in which]8 the entire earth is filled with the glory of G‑d,

כמלחמות ה׳ אשר נלחם דוד המלך, עליו השלום

like the wars for G‑d fought by King David, peace to him, which derived from his attribute of Netzach.

וכן להשתחוות ולהודות לה׳

Likewise, by exercising the attribute of Hod,9 which implies self-abnegation, and acknowledging the transcendence of that which defies his mortal understanding, [a man seeks] to prostrate himself and to [self-effacingly] praise G‑d

אשר מחיה ומהוה את הכל, והכל בטל במציאות אצלו, וכולא קמיה כלא חשיב, וכאין ואפס ממש

Who animates and creates everything, and before Whom everything is essentially non-existent and esteemed as truly nothing and null.

ואף שאין אנו משיגים איך הוא הכל אפס ממש קמיה

Though we cannot apprehend just how everything is truly as null before Him,

אף על פי כן מודים אנחנו, בהודאה אמיתית, שכן הוא באמת לאמיתו

nevertheless, we acknowledge and genuinely concede that in absolute truth such is the case.

From the very depths of his soul the Jew acknowledges that G‑d’s “Supernal Daat” and knowledge that everything is essentially non-existent before Him is true, and that the mortal understanding of our “inferior Daat” — that creation does indeed exist, except that it is nullified to Him — results from the limited compass of our earthbound perspective.10 This acknowledgement results from the self-abnegation expressed by the attribute of Hod.

ובכלל זה גם כן להודות לה׳ על כל הטובות אשר גמלנו

This [attribute] also includes the expression of gratitude11 to G‑d for all the favors that He has bestowed upon us,

ולא להיות כפוי טובה, חס ושלום

so that [we] should not be ungrateful, G‑d forbid.

ובכלל זה להודות על כל שבחיו ומדותיו ופעולותיו באצילות ובריאות עליונים ותחתונים

This [attribute of Hod] also includes the offering of thanks to G‑d for all His praiseworthy [deeds], and His attributes and His workings in the emanation and creation of the upper and lower worlds,

שהם משובחים עד אין תכלית חקר

for they are praiseworthy to no end,12

ונאים וראוים אליו, יתברך ויתעלה

and are becoming and befitting Him, blessed and exalted be He.

והוא מלשון הוד והדר

The term [Hod is here to be understood] as in the phrase,13 Hod vehadar (“majesty and splendor”).

וכן במדת צדיק יסוד עולם

And likewise [engaged in one’s divine service is] the attribute of [Yesod (lit., “foundation”), as in the phrase],14 “The tzaddik is the foundation of the world.”

In the above analogy, it was by means of the attribute of Yesod that the father communicated with his son and disciple through bonds of desire and pleasure. So, too, in the realm of divine service, the attribute of Yesod involves cleaving to G‑d with intense desire and pleasure,

להיות נפשו קשורה בה׳, חיי החיים

so that one’s soul is bound up with G‑d, the Fountain-head of Life,

ולדבקה בו בדביקה וחשיקה, בחשק ותענוג נפלא

cleaving to Him with an attachment and a desire, out of a wondrous love and delight, all of which are expressions of the attribute of Yesod.

ובמדת מלכות, לקבל עליו עול מלכותו ועבודתו

And as for the [divine soul’s] attribute of Malchut, [the worshiper seeks thereby] to accept upon himself the yoke of G‑d’s sovereignty and of His service,

כעבודת כל עבד לאדונו, באימה וביראה

like the service of any servant to his master, i.e., out of awe and fear.

* * *

Up to this point the Alter Rebbe has explained how the seven middot exist within the Jew’s G‑dly soul. These emotive attributes are activated by the three intellective faculties — the Sefirot of ChaBaD (Chochmah, Binah and Daat), which are now to be explained.

ומקור ושורש כל המדות הן מחב״ד

Now, the source and root of all the attributes are in the ChaBaD.

דהיינו: החכמה היא מקור השכל המשיג את ה׳ וחכמתו וגדולתו ומדותיו הקדושות, שמנהיג ומחיה בהן כל העולמות עליונים ותחתונים

That is: Chochmah is the source of the intellect which apprehends G‑d and His wisdom, His greatness, and the holy attributes wherewith He conducts and animates all the higher and lower worlds;

ובינה היא ההתבוננות בהשגה זו

Binah is the contemplation of this apprehension of G‑d’s greatness and His holy attributes

באורך ורוחב ועומק בינתו

in the length, breadth, and depth of one’s understanding,

The “length” of a particular concept — in this case, the greatness of the Creator — entails drawing it down from its lofty abstraction (by way of a parable, for example) to a level of intelligibility. The “breadth” of the concept refers to the multitudinous components and ramifications that await one’s mastery. Its “depth” refers to the challenge of plumbing its seemingly limitless profundity.

להבין דבר מתוך דבר

in order15 “to understand (or deduce) one matter out of another,”16

ולהוליד מהשגה זו תולדותיה

and from this apprehension to beget its offspring,

שהן מדות אהבה ויראה

which are the attributes of love and awe,

The thinker’s understanding of the greatness of G‑d gives birth to emotions — a love and a fear of Him.

ושארי מדות הנולדות בנפש האלקית, המשכלת ומתבוננת בגדולת ה׳, כי לגדולתו אין חקר

and the other attributes born in the divine soul which contemplates and meditates upon G‑d’s greatness, as to how17 “His greatness is unfathomable.”

ויש בחינת גדולת ה׳, שעל ידי התבוננות הנפש האלקית בה, תפול עליה אימתה ופחד

One aspect of G‑d’s greatness is such that the divine soul, when contemplating it, is overwhelmed by a fear and dread.

שהיא יראה תתאה, שהיא בחינת מלכות

This is yirah tataah (“the lower level of fear”), which is an aspect of Malchut.

ויש בחינת גדולת ה׳, שממנה באה יראה עילאה, ירא בושת

There is another aspect of the greatness of G‑d from [the contemplation of] which derives yirah ilaah (“the superior level of fear”), in which one is awed out of bashfulness.

ויש בחינה שממנה באה אהבה רבה

There is also an aspect [of G‑d’s greatness] from [the contemplation of] which derives ahavah rabbah (“the great love”),

ויש בחינה שממנה באה אהבה זוטא

and still another aspect [of G‑d’s greatness], from [the contemplation of] which derives ahavah zutta (“the lesser love”).

All these levels of ahavah and yirah are internal emotive attributes that are fathered by ChaBaD.

וכן במדות החיצוניות, שהן חסד כו׳

The same applies to the external attributes, i.e., Chesed and so on; they, too, emanate from ChaBaD.

ובכולן צריך להיות מלובש בהן בחינת הדעת

Now, the faculty of Daat must be vested within all these [emotive attributes],

שהוא בחינת התקשרות הנפש, הקשורה ותקועה בהשגה זו

for it represents the bond with which the soul is bound and embedded in this apprehension

שמשגת איזה ענין מגדולת ה׳, שממנה נולדה בה איזה מדה מהמדות

as it apprehends some aspect of G‑d’s greatness, from which one of these attributes is born within it.

Once the soul has apprehended some aspect of G‑d’s greatness it must bind itself to this comprehension through the faculty of Daat.

כי בהיסח הדעת כרגע מהשגה זו

For by a momentary removal of Daat from this apprehension,

מסתלקת גם כן המדה הנולדה ממנה

the emotion born of it is also withdrawn

מהגילוי בנפש אל ההעלם

from its [prior] state of manifestation in the soul [back] into concealment [within the soul],

להיות בה בכח ולא בפועל

to exist there in potentia but not in actuality.

It is the faculty of Daat — a prolonged and constant involv-ement in the subject being contemplated — that reveals and actualizes the emotive experience of love or fear.

ולכן נקרא הזיווג בלשון דעת, מפני שהוא לשון התקשרות

That is why the term Daat is applied to coition,18 for it signifies a bond that results in issue, just as out of Daat are born the emotions.

וזהו בחינת דעת תחתון נוסח אחר: הדעת התחתון, המתפשט במדות ומתלבש בהן, להחיותן ולקיימן

This is the faculty of Daat Tachton, the lower level of Daat, which extends into the attributes and vests itself in them to animate and sustain them.

ויש בחינת דעת העליון, שהוא בחינת התקשרות וחיבור מקור השכל המשיג עומק המושג

There is also a faculty of Daat Elyon, a superior level of Daat, through which the source of the intellect that apprehends the profundity of a concept is bound and connected [to it] —

שהוא כנקודה וכברק המבריק על שכלו

like a point or a flash of lightning that flashes over one’s mind —

שיתפשט למטה

so that [the concept] will extend downward.

ויבא עומק המושג לידי הבנה

The profundity of the apprehended concept will thereby come to be understood

בהרחבת הביאור, באורך ורוחב

with extensive clarification, in length and breadth,

שהיא בחינת בינה, הנקראת, רחובות הנהר, כמו שיתבאר במקומו

this stage being the function of the faculty of Binah, which is known as rechovot hanahar (lit., “the expanses of the river”), as will be explained in its place.19

The faculty of Daat Elyon unifies Chochmah with Binah. For Chochmah is the intuitive flash of illumination that would vanish as quickly as it appeared, if it were not anchored by Daat in the comprehension of Binah, whereby this seminal point assumes length and breadth. Chochmah is thus likened to a wellspring whose waters issue forth drop by drop, while Binah is likened to a broad and deep river. It is the function of Daat Elyon to draw the wellsprings of Chochmah into the river of Binah.

The function of Daat Tachton, by contrast, is that of binding the intellective faculties of ChaBaD with their resultant emotions, so that one’s intellectual activity will illuminate them, and provide them with vitality and continuity.

* * *

In summary, this discourse demonstrates how all the ten faculties of the divine soul engage in an ongoing relationship with their G‑dly source. Indeed, to recall the Alter Rebbe’s opening lines, an understanding of this dynamic within oneself enables one to experience the truth of the verse, “From my flesh shall I behold G‑d,” and to gain some measure of understanding of the Supernal Sefirot.